Evening 27, Tuesday 2012-05-01
I’m very aware that this CELTA stuff must be quite uninteresting to people landing on these pages but perhaps one of you will find it useful. I’ll try to keep it short and focused…
1. Observing (90 mins)
A couple of us trainee teachers were observing professionals tonight. Have to say, it was quite awe-inspiring! The activities were engaging and slick. The only activity which didn’t work well was quickly dispensed with.
The lead-in was great. One student had missed last week’s lesson because she’d been on holiday. The other students had to ask her one question each about her holiday and she did her best to answer. After everyone had asked something the lesson was thrown open so that anyone could ask. My initial thought was that this was somewhat unfair on the holidayer but, afterwards, each student in turn had to relate a small part of the story covered in the missed lesson, so the balance was redressed. The story was Shirley Valentine (1989 – how time flies!) and the girls in particular remembered all the romantic details.
The bit that failed was a group activity. I hasten to say it was a failure in my opinion. The teacher didn’t say as much, but it didn’t last long and she seemed dissatisfied with it. The idea was to have everyone stand in a circle, a new present-tense word would appear on the PowerPoint presentation and the student with the ball had to throw it while calling out the past-tense form of the word. They were getting the words wrong and throwing anyway, and people were deliberately not catching because it meant they had to do the exercise. And, when they were catching, the new word would be appearing on the screen which they wouldn’t see because they all had their eyes on the ball! The teacher tried to fix things by calling out the word repeatedly (to give the impression that speed was needed) which meant the students couldn’t think, and rather negated the need for the PowerPoint. All good learning fodder!
2. Planning for future Teaching Practice (~75 mins)
Although I will be teaching on Thursday there was no preparation with the tutor today. Judging by the timetable, we’re on our own from now on.
There are five of us trainees now and five more evenings of teaching practices with students to go – two one-hour lessons per evening. That’s two one-hour lessons per trainee.
Given the course books we had to devise a balanced set of lessons for the coming weeks. It was a fairly easy task. We decided that the first lesson of any evening would be grammar-based while the second would be skills-based (listening, reading, writing, speaking). Then it was simply a matter of selecting material from the books, made all the easier by it being logically structured and with good learning progression. So we’re now choosing material and planning our own lessons. One of the younger trainees seemed to think that the tutor should have been doing this for us until we pointed out that in a few weeks’ time we’ll be on our own and no longer having our hands held…